Wildlife on Site

As we are tucked away from the road in a quiet corner of Dulwich Common, alongside the open sports fields and close to Dulwich and Sydenham Woods we enjoy visits from many species of birds, animals and insects. Visits to our plots early or late in the day are often accompanied by foxes, undisturbed areas of ground often house newts and there are always robins around to keep you company if you are digging.

Stag Beetles
Stag Beetles are an endangered species because of the loss of their habitat. London and the South East is a stronghold of Stag Beetles and we have them on our allotment too! For information about the Stag Beetle go to the BBC Nature website.

If you see Stag Beetles or their larvae on site please leave them and inform the Site Co-ordinators.

For further information about what to do if you find stag beetles on the allotment go the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

Hedgehogs
Hedgehog numbers have dropped by 25% in the last 10 years. If you find a hedgehog that needs help the following have volunteered to look after them and can be contacted. Otherwise, please report any sighting on site to Site-Co-ordinators.

Sue Kidger (0208 894 3712 or 07776 153 633)
Wildlife Care Hospital (07866 092 007)
Harry Eckman (0208 888 2351)

For further information: British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Our Bees
In 2009 the Grove Site Committee took the decision to invite a member of the London Bee Keepers Association to establish and keep hives on the site of the old burning area. This was taken out of wider environmental concerns as well as to profit from the pollination benefits. Our bee keeper is Karin Courtman. For more information about bee keeping see the notice board or go to the Bee Keepers Association Website.

Some information about honey bees and the interaction between bees and people. Taken from the Bee Keepers Association Site.

What Do I Do If I Get Stung?

Bees will not generally sting if unprovoked usually the bee has been trapped in hair or crushed. When close to a beehive avoid flapping your arms and moving rapidly, if the bees are antagonised, walk away through undergrowth or trees if possible. If stung scrape the sting out with your fingernail as the sting still pumps venom for some time after the bee has left. Apply a soothing lotion, such as Witch Hazel or calamine lotion onto the affected area. On returning home, an ice pack or packet of frozen peas will help to reduce any pain or swelling resulting from the sting.
Some people have some allergic reaction to stings. This can range from slight swelling in the vicinity of the sting, to a generalized itching (urticaria) or anaphylaxis (generalised shock including difficulty in breathing). This very allergic group needs to be careful. Unfortunately even beekeepers that normally show little reaction to bee stings may react adversely the next time they are stung so it is always wise to be prepared and ensure that help can be called in any emergency.

What Do I Do If I See A Swarm Of Bees?

Don’t Panic, bees in a swarm are universally in a good mood. They cannot easily sting even if antagonised as they have gorged themselves with honey and cannot get their bodies into the best position to sting. If the swarm is not causing a nuisance then leave it, gradually the bees will cluster in a bush or tree and remain there for up to 3 days. During that time scouts will be sent out to look for a new home, the only problem may be they will choose your chimney so put your fire/ heating on low and enjoy their visit. If the swarm is a nuisance then the police usually keep a list of local beekeepers that can help or find a swarm collector near you.

Apart From Honey Are Bees Useful?

Yes very, the pollination benefit of bees is calculated to help the economy by millions of pounds per annum. Certain crops yield up to 25-40% more if efficiently pollinated and farmers in some areas of the world pay beekeepers to put hives into their fields and orchards. In the USA alone bees pollinate about ten billion dollars worth of crops per year (1997). In addition to pollination, bees produce wax for candles and Royal Jelly. During the Middle Ages one of the most important jobs in an Abbey was the Beekeeper, as a huge quantity of wax was constantly required for the ceremonial candles.

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